Standard Article

Competitive Advantage: Its Sources and the Search for Value

Part 1. Marketing Strategy

  1. Albert Caruana

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444316568.wiem01009

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

How to Cite

Caruana, A. 2010. Competitive Advantage: Its Sources and the Search for Value. Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing. 1.

Author Information

  1. University of Malta, Msida, Malta

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


This article highlights the salient role played by value and how it underpins the identification of viable sources of competitive advantage. It commences by taking into account the centrality of cost leadership and differentiation as two important sources of competitive advantage. These interact with particular target markets to provide three main generic strategies. Marketing advantage is then considered as a further basis of competitive advantage and while discussing cost leadership and differentiation advantage, a typology is investigated that explicates major sources that sustain each of these advantages. This is followed by consideration of how the value chain enables the identification of activities that underline a particular value offering that underpins the different types of competitive advantage that the firm can provide. Finally, the main generic strategies are discussed while attention is also drawn to other perspectives on competitive advantage. In conclusion, the point is made that the various frameworks available are best viewed as aids and not as substitutes for management thinking on competitive advantage.


  • competitive advantage;
  • value;
  • sources of competitive advantage;
  • cost leadership;
  • differentiation;
  • focus